Is dieting mainly about willpower? Obviously if you find a diet too restricting, you will likely give up at some point. But the truth is that even if you have great willpower you may still have to give up the diet at some point. Because it has nothing to do with you. It has to do with your body. Your body has certain needs in order for it to function properly. It needs certain amounts of calories, fat, carbs, and protein. But that's just scratching the surface. It also needs a certain amount of water, fiber, calcium, and Vitamin C.
There are about 60 nutrients that the body needs regularly in order to function properly. In fact, each cell in the body has a chemical need for specific nutrients and if you deprive your body long enough you will have a chemical need to give up your diet.Take an example. If you need oxygen, you simply breathe. Your billions of blood cells also need oxygen to survive, but they don’t have mouths of their own. The only way they can get their required oxygen is when you have enough iron in your diet. Another example. If you need water, you simply drink water. Your billions of muscle cells also need water to survive, and like your blood cells, they don’t have mouths of their own. The only way they get their required water is when you have enough potassium in your diet. (Iron and potassium are metals: There is metal in your food, and it’s good for you to eat!)
Before processed food came around, this wasn't a concern. When people had no choice but to eat whole grains, fruit, vegetables, beans, and lean protein, the calorie content of their food was low, and the nutrient content was high. So people were able to eat less and still get their required nutrients. If you would've lived 200 years ago or prior, when people ate whole, unprocessed foods, you would’ve been fine because all of the required nutrients necessary to sustain human life are found naturally in whole foods. You must be careful to eat healthy nutritious food on your diet in order to be able to stick to it. Still to come, we will discuss why calories from processed foods actually count as more calories in the body than calories from whole foods.